The Glass Forge of Grants Pass… From the Sublime to the Wacky

Two bowls from the Glass Forge of Grants Pass Oregon.

The Glass Forge of Grants Pass creates a wide range of glass art ranging from the sublime to the wacky. I loved the tree like pattern in the left bowl.

Red lipped blue fish produced at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

How can you not fall for a blue fish with red lips. While the artists of the Glass Forge produce much traditional glass art, they also have a wonderful sense of humor.

It’s Friday, so this is my day to produce a photographic essay for my blog. My choice for today is the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon. Peggy and I visited the studio on one of our Wednesday Date Days in November. (We’ve been having Wednesday Date Days for 27 years!) When we arrived the staff was working on glass art for the Lodge at Yosemite.

The Glass Forge of Grants Pass, Oregon was founded by Lee Wassink, shown above creating a vase.

One of the neat things about the Glass Forge is that you are encouraged to watch the artists at work. In this photo, Lee Wassink, founder of the Glass Forge, demonstrates the creation of a vase.

Groups and individuals have an opportunity to attend a workshop and create simple glass work of their own, such as these Christmas ornament.

Groups and individuals have an opportunity to attend a workshop and create simple glass work of their own, such as these Christmas ornaments.

Vase found at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The studio provides an opportunity to peruse the wide variety of glass art available, such as this vase. As I posted this photo I notice a slight reflection of myself, a selfie.

Looking down into a vase at the Glass Forge Studio in Grants Pass Oregon.

I always like looking down into glass art for a different perspective, as in this vase…

Looking at the patterns inside a glass bowl at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

And this bowl. I am amazed at the patterns, variety and beauty created.

Humorous mugs created by the artists working at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

I really like weird and wacky. These mugs certainly qualify!

Glass fish with character at Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

And here’s another fish.

Variety of bowls displayed at the Glass Forge in Grant's Pass, Oregon.

This collection of bowls demonstrated the variety available.

A tall, graceful vase at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

One of several tall, graceful vases.

Glass paperweights available for purchase at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass Oregon.

Someday, I am going to return to the Glass Forge to find out how these paper weights are created.

We were able to watch a vase being made. The furnaces used to melting the glass are over 2000 degrees F (1100 degrees C).

We were able to watch a vase being made. The furnaces used to melt the glass are over 2000 degrees F (1100 degrees C).

Furnaces for heating glass at Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

A bubble is blown into the glass. Layers are added by returning to the furnace for more glass. The larger the piece, the more returns.

Bins that hold colored glass to add color to glass art created at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

These bins hold colored glass that will be added to the various pieces.

The following series of photos follow the artists as they work together to finish a vase:

Color has been added to a vase at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Check out the gorgeous color!

Top is added to vase at Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

A bottom is added.

Shaping a top on a vase at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

And shaped.

A close to finished vase at the Glass Forge, Grants Pass, Oregon.

The finished product.

If you are driving up or down Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon or live in the area, I highly recommend stopping off at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass.

If you are driving up or down Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon or live in the area, I highly recommend stopping off at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass.

Glass Genie created at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon.

I’ll conclude my Friday photographic essay today with this marvelous glass genie.

MONDAY’S BLOG: We will return to the Oregon Coast and visit the scenic Sunset Bay.

WEDNESDAY’S BLOG: Part 2 of my Sierra Trek series. I have to persuade a reluctant Board of Directors (“You want to do what?”), decide on a name, hire Steve, and determine our route.

FRIDAY’s BLOG: California mountain wildflowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

44 comments on “The Glass Forge of Grants Pass… From the Sublime to the Wacky

  1. Suan: I love the glass blowing factories. Always fascinating how these colored pieces that joined up so artistically. Its one thing to draw it, but quite another to make it!

    • I certainly plan to return to the studio and learn more about how they create the various pieces, Suan. I’ve watched potters work a fair amount but haven’t watched many glass blowers. –Curt

  2. The “tall graceful vase” was very pretty. Tim and I have a large hand blown vase we picked up along the Oregon coast on our honeymoon almost 25 years ago. It remains one of my favorite pieces. Thanks for sharing your date day with us!

    • I can see where your vase would be a favorite, Joanne, as both a reminder of your honeymoon and a beautiful trip up/down the coast. 25 years… congratulations! Peggy and I are coming up on 25 this year as well! 🙂 –Curt

  3. Amazing art form. I remember being told that glass blowing can be hazardous for health. The furnaces in the past were gas fed and I used to walk past a gas blower on the way to school as child. I remember that the glass blower looked very pale and in my schoolboy’s mind felt that the paleness came from noxious fumes.
    It is probably totally wrong and glass blowers today would be well protected from any harm. Beautiful objects and photos, Curt.

    • Lots of hazards, I imagine Gerard. Some of the things that go into making beautiful glassware can be quite poisonous. Then there are rather painful burns I’m sure. Finally, if that isn’t enough, there is always broken glass! But, like anything else, proper care can reduce the danger substantially.
      Thanks, both Peggy and I were impressed with the beauty and uniqueness of the work. I shot photos until my battery went dead. 🙂 –Curt

  4. The techniques are so interesting. I like that they encourage visitors to watch the process. I must say, some of these pieces recall the decorative glass of the 1950s and 1950s. I still remember a rather remarkable, bright orange floor vase that my mother had. And of course, there were those heavy, heavy ashtrays. My favorites are the paper weights. I just don’t understand how they can do that!

    • Me either on the paper weights, Linda, but I am going to go back and see how they do it! I don’t think much fancy glass work made it into our house in the 50’s but I do remember adding to the family’s glassware each year at the County Fair. I’d practice before the fair so I could make dimes land just right in the glass. Did you every toss dimes to win glassware? They also had glass bowls that you tossed dimes in to win bears. It was a mark of pride for me when they wouldn’t let me play any more because I won so many bears. I must have been all of ten years old. 🙂 –Curt

      • Of course I tossed dimes into glassware — except I think it was nickles. But yes, we did take home some bowls, candy dishes, and such. My mother wanted nothing to do with the carnivals, but she liked the old-fashioned carnival glass, and we did our best to accomodate her.

        I remember a green glass bead necklace, and a bisque doll about four inches tall that my dad won for me. Oh, I wish I had those today!

      • We were turned loose at the county fair and carnival, Linda, and free to get into all kind of mischief. 🙂 I loved them. And I still do. But now I prefer the goats and pigs to cotton candy and the carnival. –Curt

  5. “From the Sublime to the Wacky” – yep, sounds like Oregon. My sister and bro in law have a glass studio in Colorado, it’s always interesting to see how it’s done.

  6. I like those weird, wacky mugs, too. Every time I watch a glass-blowing demonstration, I am amazed at how quickly they work. But then, I suppose they have to. It’s an admirable art form to master.

  7. Fabulous collection of glass blown objects. I love the photo of the bins that hold the colored glass pieces. I like the colored bowls photo too. It is such fun to see a glass blowing demonstration ~ like magic. Great post thanks for sharing.

    Peta

    • Thanks, Peta. We were really impressed with the folks there and it was entertaining and educational to watch them work. We will be going back to peruse their art and to watch them at work again. –Curt

  8. Nice to see something like this in Grants Pass. Thee was nothing like it when I lived there, and I’m sure when my father grew up there it was unheard of. I agree with Shoreacres that it is reminiscent of 1950’s style. There is a glass museum in Tacoma which would knock your socks off. Good to see G.P. encouraging people to watch the process. Seattle has a big interest in glass blowing, and of course lots of wonderful artists. G.P. is a good start. I hope they do well.

    • We had been in and out of Grant’s Pass many times and had not been aware of the Glass Forge, Kayti. We were pleased to find it. We’ve seen several Chihuly exhibitions and become quite fond of glass art. We’ve yet to see his work in Tacoma and Seattle, however. We keep promising ourselves a trip to Washington solely for that purpose. –Curt

  9. The artistic skill in glass blowing is astonishing – a delight to watch! Wonderful photos and the colours of their creations are so vibrant. Great Friday essay, Curt and thank you for this colourful display – oh, I would have liked to buy them all!

  10. We’re fans of blown glass even though there’s only room for one special piece in our condo — a huge bowl we bought in Arizona. But we love it. And I love the pieces you’ve included here. Better yet, I’d like to see them in person as well as the glass blower. Thanks for including the genie — my favorite!

  11. Pingback: The Glass Forge of Grants Pass… From the Sublime to the Wacky — Wandering through Time and Place – Mixed Bead Bags

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